2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Using the Arduino in an Analog and Digital Electronics Course for Physics Majors
Abstract: Two years ago we began using Arduino micro controllers in the electronics course for second-year Physics majors. Arduinos feature multiple on-board digital and analog inputs and outputs, and are connected to a host computer by a USB cable, which also supplies power to the unit. A free software development environment, including editor and compiler, are used to program the micro controller using the high-level programming language C. Many easily interfaced sensors and transducers are available, making the Arduino a useful lab tool or an very entertaining toy. The large user group present on the internet is an inexhaustible source of help and ideas.

In our course the Arduinos have replaced traditional experiments involving flip-flops, counters, and seven-segment displays. These experiments involve a great deal of error-prone bread boarding that students find frustrating. The Arduino is able to easily implement these operations in software. We also use the Arduinos in end-of-semester projects that challenge students to do something interesting with the knowledge they accumulated. In previous years these projects were limited to rather simple devices like a siren, lie detector, or FM transmitter. With the Arduino students are able to build devices that incorporate a GPS receiver, send text and email messages, control servo and stepping motors, act as MIDI controllers, and have LCD and LED matrix displays. Arduino based projects are more rewarding and give the students a better appreciation of how their knowledge of electronics will be useful in their future work.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Everett Ramer
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Physics and Astronomy
100 Allen Hall
3941 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-330-0234
and Co-Presenter(s)
Brian D'Urso
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Physics and Astronomy
100 Allen Hall
3941 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260